Arabs fear election will bring rise of right wing

Expert: Gazans generally indifferent to Israeli elections, believing that whoever wins, the large parties are all against the Palestinians.

By RACHELLE KLIGER/THE MEDIA LINE NEWS AGENCY
February 10, 2009 21:50
1 minute read.
Arabs fear election will bring rise of right wing

arab man reading paper 248.88 ap. (photo credit: AP)

 
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Arabs were following the Israeli elections with concern, fearing a rise in power of the Right. Gazans are generally indifferent to Israeli elections, believing that whoever wins, the large parties are all one bloc that goes against the Palestinians, Naji Shurab, a political science professor at Al-Azhar University in Gaza, said. More educated Palestinians, however, see the nuances between the parties, Shurab said. They fear a future hawkish government in Israel that includes Likud and other right-wing parties will derail the peace process. "They believe these parties will resume the aggression against Gaza and maybe won't respect agreements concluded with the Palestinians," Shurab told The Media Line. "You cannot understand the Palestinian political picture without the effect of Israel upon the Palestinian political variables," he said. "I think the Israeli elections are a primary variable." Arab concerns are being reflected in headlines and news reports throughout the Arab world. The headline in the London-based pan-Arab daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat on Election Day was "Israeli elections: Between the right and the extremist right." "We're witnessing the Israeli rivals in the election campaign outbidding each other in ultra-extremism, as a way to gain more votes," said an editorial in the Palestinian daily Al-Quds. "Israeli society has turned more extreme, and moved much further from peace and its obligations," it said. A cartoon in the London-based Al-Quds Al-'Arabi showed a dove of peace with its wings tied, heading for the gallows on top of an Israeli election box. An opinion piece written by an Israeli Arab, which appeared on the Hamas Web site, said the right-wing parties are exploiting Palestinian blood for their election campaigns. "The Likud, headed by [Binyamin] Netanyahu, and Israel Beiteinu, headed by [Avigdor] Lieberman, are trying to radicalize the Israeli voter by displaying extremism and pushing for murder, tyranny and continuing the siege on our people in Gaza," he wrote. Shurab said that if Kadima and the Labor Party fail to do well in the election, it would be a sign of victory for what he called resistance movements such as Hamas. It will prove that despite the recent campaign against Hamas in Gaza, which those two parties directed, both failed to gain more popularity among the Israeli public, he explained.

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